(703) 369-4738

2
Jul
2021

“Virginia’s Go-To Lawyer” in Employment Law

Kristina Keech Spitler
Employment Law- Kristina Keech Spitler

Congratulations to Kristina Keech Spitler for being named as “Virginia’s Go-to Lawyer” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (VLW). This program recognizes the top lawyers across the commonwealth in a given practice area.

A “Virginia’s Go To Lawyer” is defined as:

  • A lawyer who is an expert in his or her field, well-versed in the nuances of the case law, statutes and regulations clients will encounter.
  • A lawyer who is experienced and enjoys a record of success, with many cases and/or transactions that give testimony to the quality advice he or she can provide.
  • A lawyer to whom other lawyers make referrals because of his or her expertise and accomplishments.
  • A lawyer who can think creatively and identify all options for a client.

A full profile, highlighting Ms. Spitler’s achievements in Employment law, is featured on the Virginia Lawyers Weekly Site HERE.

 

18
Jun
2021

Legalization of Marijuana in the Workplace: Virtual Seminar

Delving into the Weeds: How to Prepare for the Legalization of Marijuana in the Workplace

Join Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. for this one hour session where she will review Virginia’s new marijuana-related legislation and explain what it means for employers.

Attendees can expect to learn about the particulars of the bills that legalized recreational marijuana and will prohibit employers from discrimination against employees that use cannabis oil for medical reasons. The session will also discuss how the new laws might impact drug testing in the workplace and what revisions may be required or otherwise suggested for employee handbooks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at 09:00 AM via zoom.

15
Jun
2021

EMPLOYMENT LAW SUMMIT 2021

Oct. 8th, 2021: 8:00 am- 5:00 pm

Manassas, VA

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian P.C. in collaboration with Prince William SHRM will host our 10th annual Employment Law Summit, Level up: HR as the game changer. The Summit offers an easy and affordable way to summarize and highlight the most up-to-date information employers need to know to identify issues currently impacting their workforce and organization.

Speakers will include VF&N’s very own Kristina Spitler with special guests:

Mindy Weinstein, Director of the EEOC Washington Field Office

Shernita Rochelle Parker, George Mason University Director of Organizational Development, Learning and Coaching

Mauricio Velasquez, Diversity Training Group

Rachel Druckenmiller, Founder and CEO UNMUTED

To Learn More About the Summit or to Register,

Visit Our Event Page Here


Kristina Keech Spitler

Speaker Profile:

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq. is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. and has been practicing law for thirty years.  With a background as a civil litigator and former prosecutor, as well as experience with employment, business, corporate, real estate, zoning, and municipal law, Ms. Spitler uses her extensive experience and knowledge to partner with her clients to understand their legal and business needs and provide innovative solutions that are specific to each client. Ms. Spitler focuses on Employment Law, Civil Litigation, Business/Corporate Law, and Municipal Law including matters relating to hiring and firing, breach of agreements, non-compete and restrictive covenant agreements, discrimination, disabilities and accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act (wage and hour law), Family Medical Leave Act, and defamation. In addition, her practice includes drafting and updating handbooks and policy manuals, management and employee training, and drafting executive, independent contractor, and severance agreements.

Ms. Spitler is a highly rated speaker and trainer on the topic of Employment Law issues. In addition to speaking at conferences and conducting training sessions for businesses, she has been a featured speaker on employment law issues on WUSA Channel 9 News and has served as a resource and quoted in Workforce Management Magazine.

Ms. Spitler has been recognized as one of Virginia’s “Go To Employment Lawyers” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly, “Most Influential Women” and a “Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Media, and as “Legal Elite” in Labor/Employment Law from Virginia Business Magazine. She has also received the AV Preeminent rating, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest professional achievement.

22
Dec
2020

VF&N is Named One of the Best Places to Work in Virginia!

VF&N is Named One of the Best Places to Work in Virginia!

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is honored to be named one of the 2021 Best Places to Work in Virginia by Virginia Business Magazine and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Virginia, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses. The 2020 Best Places to Work in Virginia list is made up of 100 companies.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Places to Work in Virginia. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. The final rankings will be announced on January 29, 2021.

About VF&N

The law firm of Vanderpool, Frostick and Nishanian, P.C. (VF&N) provides legal solutions for businesses, local governments, and individuals. With 30 years of history in Northern Virginia and a full suite of legal services, VF&N’s footprint can be seen throughout the region from mix-use developments to large commercial projects, trademarking some of Virginia Wines’ most recognizable names, and hosting one of Virginia’s largest annual employment law summit.

The firm has produced a highly active group of leaders that have, and will continue to make, significant contributions to their community. VF&N boasts several industry and community leaders, including Brett Callahan, President of the Center of the Arts of Greater Manassas; Martin Crim, Board Member of the Matthews Center for Visual Learning; Michael Vanderpool, Past-President of the Manassas Rotary Foundation; Kristina Spitler, Prince William County Bar Association’s Past-President; Bradley Marshall, Past Board Member SERVE Emergency Shelter; and three past chairmen of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

VF&N also acknowledges the importance of a healthy work life balance by providing a flexible work model. The firm is comprised of part-time staff with young children or aging family members at home, retirees staying active in their field while offering decades of experience as Of Counsel, and attorneys working from remote locations to better serve their clients. VF&N endorses smart firm growth and collaboration, not aggressive hiring and business development practices.

This award reflects VF&N’s genuine interest in their client’s outcomes and the community they serve. VF&N hires staff with like-minded values and promotes a balance between service, work, and fun.

1
Dec
2020

2020 Virginia Business Legal Elite

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is proud to announce that three of its attorneys have been recognized by the Virginia Business Magazine as being among Virginia’s “Legal Elite” within their various practice categories. We are extremely honored to celebrate their continued success and exceptional work!

26
Aug
2020

EMPLOYMENT LAW SUMMIT 2020

EMPLOYMENT LAW SUMMIT 2020

Oct. 9th, 2020: 8:30 am- 1:00 pm

If you enjoyed our 2020 Legislative Update and Business Continuity Resources COVID Series, this event will not disappoint!

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian P.C in collaboration with Prince William SHRM will host our 9th annual Employment Law Summit, Moving Forward Together. The Summit offers an easy and affordable way to summarize and highlight the most up-to-date information employers need to know to identify issues currently impacting their workforce and organization.

Due to the restrictions, this year’s summit will be held virtually. Speakers will include VF&N’s very own Kristina Keech Spitler and special guest Peter Robb, General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.

To Learn More About the Summit or to Register,

Visit Our Event Page Here


Kristina Keech Spitler

Speaker Profile:

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq. is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. and has been practicing law for thirty years.  With a background as a civil litigator and former prosecutor, as well as experience with employment, business, corporate, real estate, zoning, and municipal law, Ms. Spitler uses her extensive experience and knowledge to partner with her clients to understand their legal and business needs and provide innovative solutions that are specific to each client. Ms. Spitler focuses on Employment Law, Civil Litigation, Business/Corporate Law, and Municipal Law including matters relating to hiring and firing, breach of agreements, non-compete and restrictive covenant agreements, discrimination, disabilities and accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act (wage and hour law), Family Medical Leave Act, and defamation. In addition, her practice includes drafting and updating handbooks and policy manuals, management and employee training, and drafting executive, independent contractor, and severance agreements.

Ms. Spitler is a highly rated speaker and trainer on the topic of Employment Law issues. In addition to speaking at conferences and conducting training sessions for businesses, she has been a featured speaker on employment law issues on WUSA Channel 9 News and has served as a resource and quoted in Workforce Management Magazine.

Ms. Spitler has been recognized as one of Virginia’s “Most Influential Women” and a “Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Media, and as “Legal Elite” in Labor/Employment Law from Virginia Business Magazine. She has also received the AV Preeminent rating, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest professional achievement.

13
Aug
2020

New Associate Joins VF&N

Laura D’Agostino
Associate

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is pleased to announce the addition of our newest associate Laura M. D’Agostino. Her practice includes employment law and litigation.

Laura’s passion for business and employment law stems from her upbringing and involvement in her family’s business. In this role, Laura assumed significant management responsibilities as she interacted with local government officials, ensured compliance with applicable regulatory provisions, and applied creative solutions to resolve personnel management issues. Laura is committed to helping her clients and their teams build and strengthen their legal compliance as well as assisting them in practical aspects of human resource management.

Prior to joining VF&N, Laura worked as a litigation associate for Jackson & Campbell and as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Tracy C. Hudson in the Circuit Court for the Thirty-First Judicial Circuit of Virginia. Ms. D’Agostino simultaneously obtained her J.D. from Antonin Scalia Law School and her Master of Public Policy from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

28
Jul
2020

Effective Immediately: New Covid-19 Emergency Temporary Standards For Business and Facility Owners

Part 1 of a Series By Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq.

On July 27th, 2020, the “New Emergency Temporary Standard – Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19” by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (“DOLI”) became effective and applies to virtually all employers in Virginia. It is the first of its kind in the nation as part of a state’s response to the national pandemic. 

The new Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS” or “Standard”) sets forth mandatory actions that private and public employers are required to take to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (“Covid-19”) to and among employees and employers. This standard will generally be effective for six months starting July 27, 2020.  However, it is likely that a permanent standard/regulation will be adopted in the interim after open to further public comments.

Classify Each Job Task/Position

The ETS requires all employers to assess the workplace jobs or positions for hazards and job tasks that can potentially expose employees to Covid-19 and classify each job task/position into one of four categories of exposure risk levels: very high, high, medium, and lower.  While review of specific definitions in the Standard for each risk level is necessary, here are some examples to help give businesses an idea of the types of job tasks that may fall into the different categories:

  • Very High – healthcare employees performing aerosol-generating procedures, healthcare/lab personnel, and morgue employees who are working with known or suspected Covid-19 patients.
  • High – Healthcare delivery and support, first responders, medical transport, and mortuary employees who are exposed within six feet of known or suspected persons with Covid-19.
  • Medium– Employees exposed within six feet of other employees, customers, or other persons known, unknown, or suspected of Covid-19.
  • Lower – Employees not exposed within six feet frequently or close contact with persons known, unknown, or suspected of Covid-19.

Pursuant to the ETS, the employer then has certain actions it should take for the safety and welfare of its employees depending upon which level of risk its employees fall, including creating an infectious disease preparedness and response plan and provide certain training within specified time frames.

Develop Policies for Employees to Report When They are Experiencing Possible Covid-19 Symptoms

The ETS also requires employers to develop and implement policies and procedures for employees to report when they are experiencing possible Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive, a system for how they report this to their employer, a plan for what to do if an employee tests positive or has symptoms, and under what circumstances can that employee return to work safely.  Employers must inform employees of the methods of self-monitoring for symptoms of Covid-19 if they suspect possible exposure or experiencing signs of an oncoming illness and shall not permit those who are known or suspected of having it to report to or remain at work.  Employers must also talk with subcontractors and companies that provide contract or temporary employees about the importance of known or suspected to be infected persons staying home and that it will not allow such persons to report to or remain at work.

Employers Must Notify its Employees Within 24 Hours of Discovery of Possible Exposure

The ETS also requires that within 24 hours of discovery of possible exposure, employers must notify its employees, other employers whose employees were present at the worksite, the building/facility owner, and the Virginia Department of Health, of possible exposure at the worksite, while keeping the identity of the person confidential.  In the event that three or more employees present at the place of employment test positive during a 14-day period, the employer is also required to notify Virginia DOLI within 24 hours of discovery.

Building/Facility owners, within 24 hours of discovery of possible exposure, are to i) require all employer tenants to notify them of any positive Covid-19 tests for any employee or resident in the building, ii) take necessary steps to sanitize common areas in the building; and iii) notify all employer tenants in the building of one or more cases discovered in the building and identify the floor or work area where the case was located (while keeping the identity of person or persons confidential).

Employers Shall Ensure that Sick Leave Policies are Flexible and Consistent with Public Health Guidance

The ETS also provides that to the extent feasible and permitted by law including but not limited to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), employers shall ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are made aware of these policies.  It is not clear exactly what type of flexible sick leave policies are required by this section.  Certainly, employers covered by FFCRA must comply with FFCRA’s leave requirements.  In addition, employers should comply with their current sick leave policies as well as leave under Family Medical Leave Act, if applicable.  

The Americans with Disabilities Act may also apply such that additional leave may be a form of a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability.  ETS does not specify that employers must provide additional sick leave or more flexible sick leave.  However, further guidance may be provided.  Employers and employees should also be aware the ETS makes clear that nothing in the standard shall prohibit an employer from permitting an employee known or suspected of having Covid-19 from working remotely (teleworking) or other forms of work isolation that would not result in potentially exposing other employees to the virus.   

Additional Resources

Virginia DOLI has some resources regarding ETS available on its website at https://www.doli.virginia.gov/covid-19-outreach-education-and-training/.

Should you need any assistance in understanding, implementing, or complying with the Emergency Temporary Standard, we stand ready to assist you.

Please visit our site Employment Law or call attorney Kristina Spitler at (703) 369-4738.

30
Jun
2020

Covenants Not to Compete with Low Wage Employees

(Part Four of a Four-Part Series

By Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq. and Brendan F. Cassidy, Esq.

A new law prohibits Virginia employers from entering into, enforcing, or threatening to enforce non-compete agreements with low wage employees. 

A “low-wage employee” is defined as a worker whose average weekly earnings during the previous 52 weeks “are less than the average weekly wage of the Commonwealth” (emphasis added).  The Virginia Employment Commission (“VEC”) determines the average weekly wage each quarter. Currently, for the first quarter of 2020, the average weekly wage is $1,204.00 a week or $62,608.00 a year.  If an employee’s average weekly earnings fall below the VEC’s average weekly earnings – they qualify as low wage employees. The law also covers low wage interns, students, apprentices, and trainees.

The new law also applies to independent contractors who are compensated for their services at an hourly rate that is less than the median hourly wage for the Commonwealth as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (currently $20.30 per hour).

Under the new law, low-wage employees (including interns, students, apprentices, and trainees) and low-wage independent contractors subject to a non-compete agreement may bring a civil action against an employer and seek appropriate relief, including enjoining the conduct of the employer, ordering payment of liquidated damages, and being awarded lost compensation, damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. Employers who violate the law are also subject to a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation.

Employers should be cautious if they have a non-compete agreement with an employee near the low wage threshold since the VEC updates average annual wages each quarter, and the new law does not identify a date employers should use to determine whether an individual qualifies as a  low-wage employee. To illustrate how easily an employee can qualify as having a low wage, in January 2020 an individual who made $58,500 qualified as low wage, and as of April 2020 that number jumped to $62,608.

Posting Requirement: The new law also requires employers to post in the workplace a notice of the prohibition against non-compete agreements for low wage employees. Employers will be issued a warning for their first violation of the posting requirement and will be subject to a civil penalty thereafter.


For further information or questions about these new laws, or for any questions regarding employment laws applicable to Virginia employers, please contact Ms. Spitler or Mr. Cassidy at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian.  The attorneys in the employment law department of VFN are available to help you revise your employee handbook and policies as well as provide training so that your organization complies with these new and other applicable law.  Alternatively, if your organization does not have an employee handbook, our firm can draft a handbook tailored to meet your business’s needs.

For further information or questions, please visit our site
Employment Law or Call Us (703) 369-4738

30
Jun
2020

Hiring Independent Contractors: New Laws for Virginia Employers

(Part Four of a Four-Part Series

By Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq. and Brendan F. Cassidy, Esq.

Employers Must Report Independent Contractors to the Virginia New Hire Reporting Center

A new law requires Employers to submit independent contractor information to the Virginia New Hire Reporting Center in the same manner as employees if the independent contractor:

  1. Has not previously had a contract with an employer; or
  2. Previously entered into a contract with an employer and received a payment pursuant to the agreement after receiving no payments for at least 60 consecutive days.

Employers Liable if Misclassify Employee as Independent Contractor and Subject to Debarment from Public Contracting

(This new law is effective January 1, 2021.)

A new law prohibits an employer from misclassifying an individual as an independent contractor if s/he is an employee.  Virginia Department of Taxation will determine the correct classification by applying Internal Revenue Service Guidelines.  Any employer, or officer or agent of the employer that fails to properly classify an individual as an employee is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per misclassified individual for a first offense, and up to $2,500 per misclassified individual for a second offense, and up to $5,000 per misclassified individual for a third or subsequent offense.

In addition to the penalties above, after an employer receives a second notice from the Department of Taxation that they misclassified an independent contractor, all public bodies and covered institutions will be prohibited from awarding a contract to that employer for up to one year. With a third or subsequent notice, all public bodies and covered institutions will be prohibited from awarding a contract to that employer for up to two years.

This law is significant for employers who have contracts with the state, local governments, and/or public institutions of higher education since they risk losing those contracts for independent contractor misclassification.  In addition, an employer faces reputational damage when they receive their first notice of misclassification from the Department of Taxation, as the law provides that the Department will notify all public bodies and covered institutions of the employer’s first misclassification.


For further information or questions about these new laws, or for any questions regarding employment laws applicable to Virginia employers, please contact Ms. Spitler or Mr. Cassidy at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian.  The attorneys in the employment law department of VFN are available to help you revise your employee handbook and policies as well as provide training so that your organization complies with these new and other applicable law.  Alternatively, if your organization does not have an employee handbook, our firm can draft a handbook tailored to meet your business’s needs.

For further information or questions, please visit our site
Employment Law or Call Us (703) 369-4738